It’s your first day at a new job. You’re greeted with a high five and a shiny new computer. You sit down at your desk, log in to the WiFi network and... now what? You may have a few training sessions to attend later in the afternoon, or a few articles to read, but what if you have questions that weren’t covered in the welcome session? Whom do you turn to for payroll questions or issues with your email? Is there anything else you need to fill out? You know you’ll have A LOT to learn in a short amount of time, so where should you start? What information should you prioritize learning today vs. tomorrow vs. next week?

We’ve all been there. Starting a new job isn’t easy, and the amount of knowledge you have to process and understand can be overwhelming. And while your new boss has made it clear that she’s available to answer any of your questions, you don’t want to tap her shoulder for every little thing.

At Guru, new employees can breathe a bit easier knowing that everything they’ll need to figure out their new jobs is easily accessible in Guru. From specific HR policies, to team processes and email templates, to the best ramen lunch spots – it’s all in Guru.

At Guru we believe that “the knowledge you need to do your job should find you where you work.” That includes the knowledge you need to know how to do your job. As we’ve grown at Guru, we’ve utilized our own software to formalize our onboarding process in a way that empowers new employees to ramp up with a sense of autonomy. Our onboarding strategy hinges on three key components:

  1. The flexible structure of Guru's web application
  2. Detailed real-time user level usage data
  3. Transparent access to verified cross-department knowledge

1. Flexible structure

Creating an intuitive structure for your employee onboarding is essential. New employees who attend a well-structured onboarding program are found to be 69% more likely to remain at the company up to three years. Onboarding programs can take many forms, but since all of our tribal knowledge already lives everywhere we work through Guru, it was a no-brainer to house our new hire processes in Guru as well. That way, new hires (or not-so-new hires – shouldn’t everyone have continuous access to day-one information like commuter benefits or gym memberships?) can revisit all onboarding knowledge through Guru, rather than having to navigate to a separate solution.

Guru’s web application’s tiered structure is ideal for organizing all kinds of knowledge, including onboarding materials. Check out the example below to see how our Customer Success team approaches onboarding. We house all onboarding knowledge for every CS role in one place. From that location, new hires can drill down into the specifics of their particular role. Within the CSM-specific Board, we organize all the knowledge CSMs need to complete onboarding in separate Cards, like CSM - Week 3. We break out role responsibilities, the overall goals of onboarding, tasks, and reading materials for a new hire’s first 12 weeks at Guru.

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This format allows a new employee to digest knowledge at their own pace, as well as refer back to any information throughout their onboarding process.

Other onboarding solutions can be rigid, requiring users to complete modules in a specific order and give little visibility into the entirety of the onboarding program. At Guru, whether a new employee wants to jump around and consume knowledge as they please, or methodically go through Boards Card by Card, that’s fine – Guru can fit any learning style.

We strive to give new employees a sense of independence from day one by empowering them to easily search through training materials instead of employing a typical ‘checklist’ approach. Rather than taking a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to onboarding, we use Guru to concretely connect an employee’s specific strengths with how they’ll contribute to the company’s success.

Guru also empowers managers to customize their onboarding structure and format knowledge in dynamic and engaging ways. Our robust Card editor allows users to embed various types of content into Cards, including videos, PDFs, images, and even rich content from other applications like Google Docs. Guru supports in-app editing that gives users the ability to make changes to embedded content without ever leaving Guru.

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The Card-to-Card linking feature is also ideal for referencing Cards from other Boards, or even across departmental Collections (i.e. “Check out the Sales team’s top FAQs here.”) Being able to link to or copy existing frameworks also saves managers from recreating the wheel. Maybe your Support team spent a lot of time developing a comprehensive template for a specific process; why not save yourself some time (and add a layer of cross-departmental consistency in the process) and copy that framework for your team instead of making your own?

Guru’s tiered structure makes both organizing and consuming knowledge a breeze. Our new hires can onboard at their own pace and our managers have full autonomy over the knowledge their direct reports are looking at.

2. Real-time data

It can be challenging as a manager to recognize if and when a new employee needs help or has questions about something specific during their onboarding process. With Guru’s team and user-level data, you can see which Cards a new hire is reading, how often they’ve viewed a particular Card, as well as what keywords are most often searched by a particular Group of users. See the example User Drilldown metrics below.

User Data breakdown

With Card-level data, Guru allows you to make sure everyone new and not-so-new on your team has viewed a specific piece of knowledge. This is especially useful when onboarding new employees as you can drill into specific Card views to see a list of which users have and haven’t viewed the Card and follow up: “It looks like you haven’t had a chance to look over the Employee Onboarding Tips Card yet, check it out here.”

Visibility into how users are consuming knowledge keeps managers in the loop and also lends itself to evolving your onboarding strategy. If a new hire has viewed a card 27 times, is that because he needs to reference it every day or because something in there is confusing him? That’s an important distinction and one our managers are able to get to the bottom of thanks to Guru’s analytics. Managers can also drill down into searches in Guru producing no results to get a feel for what their teammates are looking for and not finding. If multiple people have searched for ‘401K plan’ and nothing turned up, that indicates that there’s a need for a new Card.

3. Transparency + Verified Content = Empowering

One of the most important parts of onboarding is ensuring that the knowledge new hires are consuming is up to date. If your onboarding program includes an old version of your slide deck or materials from before your last brand refresh, your new hires will be assimilating themselves with the wrong knowledge. Every piece of knowledge in Guru is assigned a Verifier, who is then responsible for keeping that information up to date and accurate. Verifiers are also required to specify a frequency at which they will re-verify a given piece of knowledge. If that Card reaches the end of its allotted trust window, it’s automatically labeled ‘Untrusted’ until the verifier goes in and affirms that the knowledge is still accurate.

With a clear indicator of a Card’s trust status, new employees can feel confident that the knowledge they are consuming in Guru is accurate. If a Card is ‘Untrusted’, or if a new employee has a question about the knowledge, they can easily comment on the Card and ask the Verifier for clarification without physically shoulder-tapping them or disrupting the flow of a training.

Guru’s intuitive permissioning allows managers to set separate rules on who can see Cards and who can edit Cards. At Guru, we believe knowledge should be shared across departmental lines, so almost all of our team’s knowledge can be viewed by all employees. This high level of transparency fosters collaboration, reduces redundancy of information across teams, and empowers new employees with access to information on pretty much anything. This also promotes personalized learning as new employees can search and find additional information that may be of interest to them across departments.

Onboarding isn’t just about learning company policies and team processes, it’s also about meeting your new team. At Guru, we’ve created a “Life Story” questionnaire that every employee completes and uses to make their very first Guru Card. It asks questions like:

  • What was the first concert you ever attended?
  • Favorite TV show/movie?
  • What other side-hustles/skills do you bring to the table?

Each new employee is asked to create their own “Life Story” Card within their first week at Guru, which empowers them to learn more about the software and bring their whole self to work. Once a new employee creates their Life Story Card, the entire company sees it appear in our new Card activity feed in Slack, which prompts other employees to read about their new teammate and establish connections!

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With access to everyone else's life stories in Guru, a new employee can quickly put names to faces, connect to people with similar interests (despite geography), and immediately feel like a real part of the Guru community. Plus, since these Cards live in Guru, they’re always reference-able for anyone who needs a reintroduction to a teammate or simply wants a new TV show recommendation.

The knowledge you need to do your job

Guru empowers individuals to live up to their full potential by delivering the knowledge they need to do their jobs. Training and onboarding materials fall squarely under that wider umbrella of knowledge. At Guru, we strive to equip all employees with all the knowledge they need to succeed. By using our own product to formalize our onboarding process, we enjoy a flexible format and intuitive structure, visibility into usage patterns and knowledge gaps, and transparency and accuracy across departments.

For more information about how your team can use Guru for onboarding, get in touch at support@getguru.com.

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